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Afraid of outside riding

Old 02-11-20, 07:00 AM
  #1  
laychris
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Afraid of outside riding

I have a fear of riding outside. Plus I'm a beginer and my riding skills are poor.
Is that a normal idea to try riding the spinning bike?
In order to do it at home.
I'm looking for ways I could do my riding skills better without riding outside...
That may be a little weird, but I have such fears since my childhood. But I'm really interested in bikes and want to try
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Old 02-11-20, 07:32 AM
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My wife went through a similar challenge. My suggestion is to find a way to get started, the easiest way possible. That may be in an office or school parking lot on a weekend - whatever is large enough, open and convenient. Then find an off-street bike trail and ride at times when there's not much activity but don't hurry. Anything worthwhile takes time. Make certain you get a helmet.

Let us know how you're doing and feel free if you want to send a private message.

Last edited by Tony P.; 02-11-20 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 02-11-20, 07:47 AM
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Kapusta
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If you are scared of riding around cars (a completely rational fear, BTW) there there are car-free options for bike riding.

If you are simply agoraphobic.... I doubt this is the place to get help.

Last edited by Kapusta; 02-11-20 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 02-11-20, 07:52 AM
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Tony P.
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laychris, one more point. If you haven't gotten a bike yet, find something simple and easy. Avoid road bikes with those strange handlebars.
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Old 02-11-20, 07:59 AM
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laychris Professional riders have used indoor trainers for over a century. There is no shame in "riding the spinning bike". There are many reasons people make use of indoor spin bikes, schedules, weather, location...there is no shame.
There are many adults who never had the opportunity to learn to ride a bike when they were young; there is no shame.

A quick google search shows many bike shops (including some REI locations) offer adult beginner bicycling classes. I'm sure they are also offered at some YMCA's or community centers. All it takes is a patient, understanding instructor (or instructors).

If you don't feel comfortable or safe riding in traffic, there is no shame. I have been riding for over 50 years, and bike commuting seriously for 30, and there are streets and places I won't ride.

But there are plenty of parking lots and parks to develop your basic skills at your own pace without pressure. Depending on where you are there should be some trails where you don't have to worry about automobiles.

And when you are more comfortable with your riding, there should be many low-traffic streets or bike lanes where you can ride.

If you find you do have trouble riding and balancing a bicycle outside, you are not alone. That's why there adult tricycles, including the low-slung, two-wheels in front, recumbent types that are a whole lotta fun, and can be very fast, while being very stable. And again, absolutely no shame. When the late bicycling guru Sheldon Brown lost the ability to balance on two wheels, he continued on three with the same gusto.

And ignore the haters, they are not interested in helping you achieve your goals, and have nothing positive to add to your experience and enjoyment.

Good luck, have fun, and let us know how things are progressing.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:21 AM
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How is riding some sort of fixed equipment inside going to help one develop the necessary skills to ride a bicycle outside? That, after all, is the OPís stated goal.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Tony P. View Post
Avoid road bikes with those strange handlebars.
+1. Would never buy a flat bar road bike. Only ones with drop bars.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by laychris View Post
I have a fear of riding outside. Plus I'm a beginer and my riding skills are poor.
Is that a normal idea to try riding the spinning bike?
In order to do it at home.
I'm looking for ways I could do my riding skills better without riding outside...
That may be a little weird, but I have such fears since my childhood. But I'm really interested in bikes and want to try
What part of riding outside causes you fear?

The only way to improve your riding skills, is to actually ride. I suppose this could be done inside, if you have a large enough area, like an open warehouse or pole barn or something.

And yes, avoid drop bars. (and fancy titanium bikes)
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Old 02-11-20, 08:41 AM
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To develop bicycle handling skills you need to ride a bicycle on its wheels.

I'd get a bunch of empty soda cans and take those and my bicycle to a quiet parking lot such as a schoolyard after hours and set up a course with those soda cans. The course can be two rows of cans a distance apart and you ride between the two rows without hitting a can. Or, you can set cans up in a row and practice riding between each can. = pass one can on the right, the next can on the left, the next can on the right and so on. Then you can practice riding different courses. Also, you can set up a few cans and practice riding up to them and then braking whilst maintaining control of the bike. That way you can concentrate on your bicycle handling skills. Those will build more confidence. Then start riding on quiet side streets. As your skills and confidence levels improve you can start riding on busier streets.

Cheers
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Old 02-11-20, 09:26 AM
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Tony P.
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
+1. Would never buy a flat bar road bike. Only ones with drop bars.
I assume the OP wasn't familiar with terms so I tried to suggest avoiding road bikes in general. I suspect you're not saying you learned how to ride on road bike. If you did, you're the only one I know of. Very few people learn how to ride on road bikes for a variety of reasons. I believe that's especially true for someone who's uncomfortable with riding.
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Old 02-11-20, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tony P. View Post
I assume the OP wasn't familiar with terms so I tried to suggest avoiding road bikes in general. I suspect you're not saying you learned how to ride on road bike. If you did, you're the only one I know of. Very few people learn how to ride on road bikes for a variety of reasons. I believe that's especially true for someone who's uncomfortable with riding.
I learned to ride as a child on a Sears bike with a banana seat when I was about 5. I learned to ride as an adult on a road bike.

What I was saying was that one man's "strange handlebars" are another man's normal handlebars.
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Old 02-11-20, 10:06 AM
  #12  
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Second the suggestion for practicing in a large, empty parking lot. School parking lots on weekends are great for this (it's where I taught my wife to drive a stick).

Soda set up to practice changes in direction are a good start. Vary the distance (closer together is harder), and when you get good at doing that with the cans in a straight line, offset them in ~6 inch intervals so you have to weaver further.

Practice stopping. Set the cans up, go in a straight line as fast as you practically can, then stop as quickly as possible without locking up the brakes. It's sometimes unavoidable to lock up the rear, since so much weight transfer goes to the front under heavy braking, but your best braking occurs while the wheels are still turning.

Find a straight line in the parking lot and try to ride along it as straight as possible. Do this at varying speeds, it might be harder to do slowly than fast. Now do the same thing, but look over your left shoulder for a couple seconds like you're checking for traffic.

This book is intended for motorcycle, but a lot of the information, especially about dealing with traffic, general awareness, and how important your state of mind is to riding, translates well to bicycles as well.

https://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/BRCHandbook.pdf
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Old 02-11-20, 10:15 AM
  #13  
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road riding/

good reason to fear vehicle drivers on the road.have to rely on your hearing & instincts when to know a driver has you in his sights & to have a plan B to exit his path.https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/...n-hit-and-run/
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Old 02-11-20, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by laychris View Post
I'm looking for ways I could do my riding skills better without riding outside...


Hm. Well, there are so many aspects to going on a ride (balance, situational awareness, changing angles/speeds of other people and objects) that simply cannot be simulated without going out there for a ride.

That said, I'm all for a "spin" bike or trainer (setup for your main bike) that will get you riding. Ideally, with your own bike such that you become more familiar with it.

But the balancing of it, the overall handling of it as you move through the landscape, and things like dealing with other people and objects out there ... well, that's hard to learn to cope with, without any experience coping with it. (As compared to, say, being a newbie driver of a car, but starting out driving on an empty parking lot, empty country roads, etc. Which does teach you about the balance, grip, handling, approach speeds, braking performance, and all the other things you need to gain competency with prior to getting "out there" on public roads.)

I'd suggest taking it slow. Go to spaces where you can ride your bike but cope with very little to no traffic, very little to no other pedestrians, dogs, other riders. Start out at slower speeds, practicing handling the bike through a range of maneuvers. Learn how to sidle up to a curb, and stop without tipping over. Learn how to safely and competently pass another pedestrian or rider. Learn how to brake rapidly and effectively. Learn all of your bike's controls, and how to operate them while still riding along and monitoring your surrounds. Lots of little things to learn. Much of which is best learned by actually doing it. I'd start by finding a safer, lower-traffic spot with far fewer distractions, so you can practice all the stuff you'll need to learn, without much of the risks.

JMO
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Old 02-11-20, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by laychris View Post
I have a fear of riding outside. Plus I'm a beginer and my riding skills are poor.
Is that a normal idea to try riding the spinning bike?
In order to do it at home.
I'm looking for ways I could do my riding skills better without riding outside...
That may be a little weird, but I have such fears since my childhood. But I'm really interested in bikes and want to try

What city or place are you in? People may have some good suggestions for non-threatening places to ride. I know that's not your original question, but sometimes we find out things we don't anticipate when we start a thread.

Spinning bike skills have little or nothing to do with outside biking, so spin if that's an activity that appeals to you, but not as some sort of bicycle simulator that will teach you how to control a bike in real world conditions. Like someone said above, there's no shame if you decide outdoor bicycling is not for you and spinning is--this is something you're doing for yourself, and it has to fit for you.
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Old 02-11-20, 10:31 AM
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Work on your riding skills and you will gradually become more confident. When my wife first started riding with me I can't tell you how many times she had to stop and get off her bike in order to make a sharp turn. I never pushed her and let her grow at her own pace. I'm proud to say that she has become quite the rider now.
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Old 02-11-20, 06:47 PM
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Bike paths during the day afternoon are a nice place to take your time, work on riding skills and go for a long or short as you feel comfortable. After noon,late morning during the week bike paths are slower, weekend days and evening seem to draw more walkers and cyclists
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Old 02-11-20, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by laychris View Post
I'm looking for ways I could do my riding skills better without riding outside...
Riding indoors doesn't require any skills and it's impossible to learn and improve bike riding skills by riding indoors....The one and only way to learn and improve bike riding skills is to ride outside...Start off easy and eventually your fears will become less and less...and your bike riding techniques will improve. There is no easy way and no short-cuts, you need to get out there and start doing it.
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Old 02-11-20, 07:47 PM
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After being hit by a car last year my desire for road riding has diminished.
I still ride regularly but now on my old 80ís mountain bike. Itís basically been converted to a adventure bike allowing me to access paths and trails I never thought of doing before. My workouts are harder, trips are longer and overall more fun than I was having before.
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Old 02-11-20, 07:55 PM
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A school playground is a pretty good place to practice, after hours, of course.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by laychris View Post
I have a fear of riding outside. Plus I'm a beginer and my riding skills are poor.
Is that a normal idea to try riding the spinning bike?
In order to do it at home.
I'm looking for ways I could do my riding skills better without riding outside...
That may be a little weird, but I have such fears since my childhood. But I'm really interested in bikes and want to try
Many people on the road have gotten evil over the years and they think they own the road.... they don't want to see bicyclists on the road they will push you off the road. Either ride your bicycle on the sidewalk or get a fast high powered e-bike or e-scooter.... or just stay at home.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:33 PM
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Ride in a developed neighborhood. That will get you going and the vehicle speeds will be lower. A bit more safe.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:34 PM
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As others have mentioned, a spinning bike will not do much for bike handling skills. If you're not in shape, it can still be a good start, as it will help your body get used to the particular muscles and motions needed to ride.

+1 on abandoned parking lots, empty bike paths, etc. Anything fairly flat with good pavement and few obstacles is helpful. I learned to rollerblade that way back in the day - way scarier than cycling!
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Old 02-11-20, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheez View Post
Many people on the road have gotten evil over the years and they think they own the road.... they don't want to see bicyclists on the road they will push you off the road. Either ride your bicycle on the sidewalk or get a fast high powered e-bike or e-scooter.... or just stay at home.
In most cases riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is a LOT repeat a LOT more dangerous than riding on the road. That's because riding on the sidewalk exposes the bicyclist to a lot more blind intersections = every single driveway; and often time very poor sight lines not to mention if riding on the sidewalk in a business area a sidewalk bicyclist also has to contend with pedestrians suddenly entering the bicyclist's line of travel as the pedestrian exits buildings. This too is not to mention how dangerous it is for a sidewalk bicyclist to enter a traffic light controlled intersection and that's because the sidewalk bicyclist is out of the line of sight of most driver because of parked vehicles and the simple fact that a motorist is not expecting a bicycle to enter an intersection from the sidewalk. Can you say Right Hook?

Again, learn to ride in a quiet area, then graduate to quiet streets and build up your skills before going into areas with heavier traffic.

Cheers
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Old 02-12-20, 05:48 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Cheez View Post
Many people on the road have gotten evil over the years and they think they own the road.... they don't want to see bicyclists on the road they will push you off the road. Either ride your bicycle on the sidewalk or get a fast high powered e-bike or e-scooter.... or just stay at home.
BF needs a dislike option. So much traffic pushing me off the road.

Last edited by indyfabz; 02-12-20 at 05:52 AM.
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